Living in a tropical coastal town of Southern China, an 11-year-old girl hides her secret deep in her heart, just like the roaring waves hidden beneath the sea. After the introduction of the two-child policy, Lily, the only child in her family, suddenly discovers on her birthday that her parents are expecting a second baby without her knowledge. Moreover, with a privately tested gender identification, the baby is believed to be a boy. In the humid and cicadas-associated summer, a “vicious” idea makes its way into Lily’s mind, and she starts a plan to “kill her brother”…
Born in 1993 in Beihai, Guangxi, Li Jing graduated from Huazhong University of Science and Technology with a BA in journalism, and from the Communication University of China with an MFA in film creation, during which she made several narrative short films. BIRCH AND GRAPEVINE was shortlisted in the main competition of the 18th Vision Youth Awards. Her graduation project THE SECRET OF MY BIRTH won the Silver Award in the Asian New Force Category at the 27th ifva Festival and the Best Actor Award at the Short Film Competition of the 8th Chongqing Youth Film Festival.
I started writing the script because I was angry, I needed to vent my anger, I wanted to critique the rotten ideas and prejudices, and satirize the things that had hurt me deeply. But during the writing process, I felt more and more confused. Do my “rotten” parents really not love me? No, I know they love me so much, and I love them too. There seems to be a terrible monster among us, a ghost that has penetrated every aspect of our life, merging with all words and actions. They are as small as an offhand remark and as big as judging whether a life should be born or not. The whole film is plain and related to life and nature. It is seemingly calm on the surface but with roaring waves inside. Finally, the film ends up creating a certain sadness and a faint melancholy that cannot be drained and leaves an afterimage.